Pierre Daix and Jean Rosselet have placed this drawing third in a sequence of ten from a sketchbook which Picasso used in June-July, 1907, soon after he worked on Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. This head and the others in the sketchbook relate directly to Nu à la draperie (C. Zervos, vol. II*, no. 47) which Picasso completed at the end of the summer of 1907. Gertrude and Leo Stein acquired the sketchbook in 1907 (at the same time they bought the canvas) and soon broke it up; a photograph of their salon shows some of these studies mounted individually for display.
Possibly even more than in the preparatory work for The Demoiselles d'Avignon, there is an astonishingly large number of preliminary experiments, which bear witness to a delicate perfecting of every rhythm. The fact is that from now in Picasso looked to the rhythms of African masks for his inspiration and he had both to assimilate them and discover subtle means of translating them into two dimensions. (P. Daix and J. Rosselet, Picasso, The Cubist Years 1907-1916, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works, Boston, 1979, p. 204)